What is Continental?

In interior design, 'Continental' refers to a style that incorporates elements characteristic of European influence.


When we speak about Continental in the context of interior design, we're referring to a broad and sophisticated style that draws from various European traditions. It is not confined to a single country's aesthetic but instead combines elements from multiple European cultures to create elegant, timeless spaces. The Continental style often includes ornate details, luxurious materials, and an emphasis on balance and proportion, reflecting the rich histories of European design.

This approach to interior design values fine craftsmanship and quality over fleeting trends. Furniture and decor often have a classic appeal, with intricate woodwork, sumptuous fabrics, and a rich color palette. Architectural elements might include elaborate moldings, grand fireplaces, and high ceilings, contributing to an overall sense of grandeur and refinement.

However, Continental style is not merely about opulence. It also embraces comfort, creating spaces that feel lived-in and welcoming. The careful selection of materials and textures, along with the thoughtful arrangement of furnishings, ensures that spaces are both beautiful and functional.


A living room decorated in the Continental style might feature a velvet-upholstered Chesterfield sofa, a chandelier with intricate crystal detailing, and walls adorned with ornate wainscoting. Meanwhile, a bedroom might boast a luxurious silk-covered headboard, antique wooden nightstands, and heavy damask drapes, all contributing to the grand yet cozy ambiance characteristic of this style.


  • How does the Continental style differ from other European interior design styles?

    Continental style is distinct in its blend of various European influences, creating a unique, sophisticated aesthetic that isn't confined to the traditions of a single country. Unlike styles such as French Country or Scandinavian, which are deeply rooted in specific cultural traditions, Continental embraces a more eclectic approach, taking the best elements from across the continent.

  • Can the Continental style be incorporated into modern homes?

    Absolutely! While the Continental style draws heavily on traditional European elements, it can be beautifully incorporated into contemporary spaces. Modern Continental interiors might feature clean lines and minimalist spaces juxtaposed with classic, ornate pieces, creating a dynamic and elegant contrast.

  • What are some key elements to include in a Continental-style interior?

    Key elements of the Continental style include luxurious materials like silk and velvet, ornate decorative pieces such as chandeliers and intricate mirrors, and classic furniture pieces with detailed woodwork. Architectural details like elaborate moldings, grand fireplaces, and high ceilings are also central to achieving this look.

Practical Application

To incorporate the Continental style into your home, start with a foundation of classic furniture pieces and add opulent textures and decorative accessories. Consider using a rich, warm color palette and include plenty of luxurious materials like velvet, silk, and polished wood. Don't shy away from adding ornate details through lighting fixtures, mirrors, or architectural elements to create that sense of European elegance.